Essay on Slovenian poetry


Slovenian Feature


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Barbara Korun

Barbara Korun

Theo Dorgan

Translated by Theo Dorgan

The Notebook

First, you peel yourself.
You take a small peeling knife
and scrape off a layer of your self.
Sweet, salty fluids
come gushing out
through your pores.

Then, living bait,
you step out into the sun, the salty sea,
the windy desert;
you wait for the words
to stick, to sting
and stay.

When you are covered in them
you step back in, poisoned;
you pick off
word after word,
you lay them out,
you arrange them in lines.

You're left there standing,
covered all over with small scars.


Soon you will be speechless and alone
soon your skull
will be laved by grains of sand
soon thirst
will blacken your tongue
soon the desert wind
will pluck your white bones

and your bowels,
all your soft innards
will be ripped out
picked apart
and left to dry
soon you will be a grain among grains
soon you will sing
with the desert dunes
to nothingness

then I will come to you
like the northern lights
in sky-colors
drawn to your desert song
your otherworldly voice
oh, I will come to you, I will come
soon, soon

On a Black Summer's Night

I stepped out into the garden
to pluck a flower for you —

it shook its leaves in my face,
fought me stubbornly,
raked me with its thorns.

Now I wait for you
at the corner of the house,
I stand there

and feel
the rose trembling
in my hand,
its hot, black blood
leaking out
into the dark.


What word
sleeps on your lips,

What landscape
glows beneath your eyelids,

What voice
in the shell of the ear?

In the delicate fire of touch,
light rippling
from spread wings of gold.